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AFL-CIO Joins Groups Calling for Regulation of the H-2B Guest Worker Visa Program

The H-2B guest worker visa program is plagued by fraud and abuse. Designed to allow employers to hire temporary guest workers for nonagricultural labor, the H-2B program lacks provisions, which would protect workers from wage theft, forced labor, predatory recruitment fees and other forms of exploitation. Guest workers in the United States are legally tied to their employer and are often forced to assume crippling debts for the opportunity to pursue low-wage work.

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Catastrophic Events Even Riskier with Manufacturing’s Decline

Photo by USACEpublic affairs/Flickr

Whether it's a Katrina-like hurricane, major earthquake or devastating terrorist attack, the decline in America’s industrial manufacturing base and the nation’s reliance on foreign suppliers for goods formerly made in the U.S.A. threatens our ability to prevent, repair and recover from a major catastrophe, a new report reveals.

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Republicans Seek to ‘Strengthen’ Labor Law

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OMG, look up! Is that a flying pig? That was my thought when I read the latest bulletin from the Republican-controlled House Education and Workforce Committee announcing a hearing that would be “Examining Proposals to Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).”

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U.S. Secretary of Labor, Union Leaders and Workers Call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home

California labor activists call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home.

This is a cross-post from the California Labor Federation's blog, Labor's Edge, by Danielle Tipton. 

There is no issue more important in California and America right now than jobs. All of us know someone struggling to find one—you might even be struggling to find one yourself. So why is our tax money helping to ship jobs to other countries?

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BCTGM Escalates Campaign for Contract American Crystal Sugar

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It’s been nearly a year since the 1,300 American Crystal Sugar Co. workers with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) have gone to work. The workers are locked out of five American Crystal Sugar processing facilities and other facilities.

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Can Obama Win Back the Youth Vote?

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This is a cross-post from The Huffington Post by Amy B. Dean, a fellow at The Century Foundation and co-author of A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement.

In 2008, young people in America—including many who voted in their first presidential election—rallied behind a youthful senator from Illinois campaigning on the promise of change and hope. Now the incumbent in the White House, Barack Obama, faces a difficult challenge in recapturing the youth vote for his re-election. Early this month, The New York Times reported that enthusiasm for Obama among voters aged 18 to 24 has fallen sharply since the past election cycle. And many of the young people interviewed in the article spoke of feeling alienated from politics.

So what is behind young people's disaffection? And what must President Obama do if he is serious about winning back the country's youth?

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Harold Meyerson: Bankrupt Cities? Don't Blame Unions

The bankruptcies of California cities Stockton and San Bernardino weren’t caused by unions, Washington Post op-ed columnist Harold Meyerson points out in a new column, “Bankrupt Cities? Don’t Blame Unions.” Contrary to reporting on the subject, the bankruptcies of these two cities were caused by Big Banks “peddling subprime mortgages to poorly paid workers.”

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Union Summer—An Education in Union and Community Organizing

Cuahuctemoc Salinas marches in a boycott picket line. He is in the orange vest.

A question Cuahuctemoc Salinas often gets when he tells carwash customers about the poor working conditions carwash workers experience is “So why are they still working here?”

To which he replies:

They’re afraid. Jobs are sacred right now. They have to provide for their families.

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Tell Us What You Think: Caterpillar Makes Billions, Demands 6-Year Wage Freeze

Caterpillar workers and their families recently rallied against the massive giveback demands. Photo by peoplesworld/Flickr

Braving record heat and dangerous midwestern summer thunderstorms, groups of 15 members from the Machinists (IAM) Local 851 take four-hour shifts every day picketing the gates of the Caterpillar factory in Joliet, Ill. This is their 12th week on strike after Caterpillar, which made $4.9 billion in profits last year, demanded the nearly 800 workers accept a six-year wage freeze, doubled health care premiums and cuts to pensions. What do you think about Caterpillar making record profits and demanding its workers take a six-year pay freeze?

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Colombia Labor Action Plan Fails to Stop Labor and Human Rights Violations

Colombia is known as “the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist.”

Today, Colombian trade unionists, representatives from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS, Colombia’s National Union School) and the AFL-CIO participated in a panel discussion on the implementation of the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights. The panelists reached a grim conclusion—so far, the Labor Action Plan (LAP) has failed to stop serious labor and human rights violations in Colombia, even though the U.S. government has declared it a success and has allowed the related Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to go into effect.  

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